If you decide to buy a Jack Russell puppy, it helps to know the breed standard to confirm whether or not the puppy you are interested in is healthy and happy. The following are features you should look for when purchasing Jack Russell Puppies.
Head – The head of a Jack Russell should be broad and flat, well balanced and proportioned to suit the body. The skull should narrow towards the eyes and be a reasonable width at the ears.
Ears – The ears are small and should be positioned forward close to the head. They resemble a V shape and are relatively thick. The skin inside the ears should be light pink and clean. The dog shouldn’t scratch his ears or shake his head frequently. This is a sign of infection.
Eyes – The eyes of Jack Russell puppies are almond shaped, dark, and have a look of intelligence and alertness. The eyes should be bright and clear and shouldn’t have any signs of mucus or appear watery. The eyelashes should not rub the eyeball, nor should the whites of the dog’s eyes be yellow.
Nose – Jack Russell’s have black noses. A good indication of a healthy dog is a cool, moist noise. There should be no thick, yellowish discharge coming from the nose.
Mouth – Jacks have strong muscular jaws and cheeks. They have strong, white teeth that form into a perfect scissor bite, with the top teeth slightly extending over the bottom. Keep in mind that Jack Russell puppies have fewer teeth then adults. Puppies have 23 teeth which they will gradually lose as their 42 permanent adult teeth come in.
Check to make sure that the puppy’s gums are healthy and that his breath is not foul smelling.
Body – Jack’s have shallow and narrow bodies. They have straight, strong backs, providing the Jack Russell with a balanced image. The loin is arched slightly.
Tail – Jack Russell’s carry their tails high and proud, and tails are usually about 4 inches in length.
Legs – The forelegs should be strong and straight in perfect alignment. The hind legs are muscular and strong and have good angulations and slightly bent stifles. When looking at them from behind, their hocks should be straight.
Feet – Jack Russell puppies have round, padded wide paws that do not turn outwards or inwards.
Gait – Jack Russell’s should easily move and appear lively when they walk. The legs should be well coordinated and the walk should be straight. Make sure when you select your puppy that you see his gait. This will help you see if he is favoring a leg, foot or any other problems associated with his overall balance.
Coat – The Jack Russell comes in three coat varieties: Smooth, Broken or Rough. Each provides the dog with a different look and requires different grooming. For the most part the coat provides Jack’s with protection from the elements. However, if you are interested in a rough or broken coated Jack, his coat shouldn’t appear wooly.
Color – White should be the dominant color of Jack Russell puppies, but the coat will likely also have black, brown or tan markings, particularly in the head region. Any other colorings are unacceptable in the breed if you intend on showing the dog.
Skin – The skin of a healthy Jack Russell should be smooth and have no growths, scabs, flakes or redness. If the puppy has spotted skin do not be alarmed, this is common in many dogs and is nothing to worry about.
Any reputable breeder will ensure that the Jack Russell puppies they are selling meet all of the above standards. You shouldn’t settle for anything less then the best. A puppy that isn’t healthy means plenty of vet bills, and heartache if he needs to be put down due to his illness.